Charlie Hunter: Baboon Strength

By: Kayceman

Featuring seven-string guitar master Charlie Hunter, keyboardist extraordinaire Erik Deutsch, and locked-in pocket-humper Tony Mason on drums, Baboon Strength (released September 8 and available digitally on reapandsow) finds these gifted individuals working as a real band, supporting one another, building bridges across at times strange waters. Where past efforts have found Hunter performing wild acrobatics on his custom made guitar, here he trades virtuosity for restraint and taste. Often playing more straightforward rhythm or lead work, Hunter leaves plenty of room for Deutsch's wobbling keys, gurgling organ and freaked-out Echoplex to grind against the groove-heavy foundation. Most of these compositions are fairly grounded: a slow burning jazz number ("Difford-Tillbrook"), a funky Meters-esque organ romp ("Porter-Hayes"), an ill advised dance-trance track ("Welcome To Frankfurt"), a nice blues progression with pensive guitar ("Fine Corinthian Leather") and the adventurous title track which devolves into a beautiful sonic mess, which I'm pretty sure includes bagpipes. Save for said title track, if anything, Hunter plays it a bit safe here. While it's a pleasure to hear him evolve in terms of interacting with others and creating a real dynamic between beating hearts, it's his fifteen-finger fret work and double-mind bass-lead guitar playing that have already made Charlie Hunter a legend, and in the end, that's what folks are paying for. However, when taken in the context of an album versus the live arena, this is the place for Hunter to explore these other musical desires. His blinding brilliance can easily be lost in the world of studio trickery, so it's on a record where we can relish his band dynamic, but on stage, we best still see those fingers flying.

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[Published on: 9/18/08]

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MaseBase starstarstarstarstar Thu 9/18/2008 11:29AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Oh baby, I can't wait to hear this. Charlie Hunter is not human... it's just amazing what that guy does.

Danimal Thu 9/18/2008 05:58PM
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My first thought when I opened this was that the album cover is badass and reminds of the old days when all good albums had badass artwork. I'm sure the music is better than the cover though.

TheGreenKynd starstarstarstar Thu 9/18/2008 07:13PM
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Charlie Hunter is the man!!!!!! Over the last few years i've seen him about 3 or 4 times over at the World Cafe in Philly and he is always fantastic. Such a talented musician and a great guy, always seems to be enjoying himself on stage and makes crazy faces while playin.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} Fri 9/19/2008 05:52AM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
mesaxi starstarstarstarstar Fri 9/19/2008 06:52AM
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I just saw Charlie last night. AMAZING! This trio should be at the top of the instrumental community.

wsp13 starstarstarstar Fri 9/19/2008 10:55AM
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This trio is excellent live. I caught 3/4 of their Albany residences and each set had a different vibe. They are exceptionally diverse musicians. Charlie is certainly amazing to watch, but the beauty of his albums are both his musical taste and the perfection that comes from 2 band members being, in fact, one person. The band communication removes the middle man, and the bass accompaniment (or rhythm guitar accompaniment) always fits perfectly. And no musician I have ever seen perform has more fun the Tony Mason. The guy is full of joy. See them live and buy this album, its a funky step for Charlie Hunter.

The1AndOnlyDJCT starstarstarstarstar Fri 9/19/2008 06:46PM
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Charlie Hunter's the man, and Erik Deutsch's sick, can't wait to cop this. Don't love Tony Mason though, sorry.

honeytribe23 Sat 9/20/2008 07:07PM
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very impressed with this album..any charlie hunter fans out there that can point me towards any other quality hunter albums

iwantstogetfunkedup Sun 9/21/2008 04:01PM
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honeytribe23- I am a fan since his first charlie hunter trio record and have seen him many times. My fave records are his early records which are Charlie Hunter Trio, Bing, Bing, Bing, and his cover album of Bob Marley's Natty Dread is amazing. Also a must have for Charlie fans are the two studio records that he released with TJ Kirk.

rubbersledhead starstarstarstarstar Mon 9/22/2008 10:02AM
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I would check these out:

Right Now Move - jazzier than his newer stuff, cool grooves start to finish.

Mistico - similar lineup to current CD with some really rockin tunes.

Copperopolis - transition from his jazzier sound to more bluesy rock with the previous version of the trio.

Naughty Dread - Bob Marley covers done Charlie style.

twain starstarstarstarstar Wed 9/24/2008 03:24PM
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natty dread

ready set shango

self titled "green album"

bing bing bing

TJ Kirk...the man is a master